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The well curve

April 18, 2003

We’re used to thinking about large groups of people in terms of a bell curve: a large middle with two decreasing tails. While this distribution is the standard in much of the scientific world, research is showing that a surprising number of social and economic phenomena don’t match up to the bell curve pattern, but rather to what’s being called the ‘Well Curve': high numbers on the extremes and a relatively low middle.

Marketers may be routinely basing strategy decisions on a faulty premise. On so many levels and without considering otherwise, we form strategies that assume the existence of a large and vibrant middle, when it could be the edges that hold the real numbers.

Daniel Pink argues the case in this WIRED article

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